Coleman Hughes takes to the Free Press to wonder: Why Is TED Scared of Color Blindness?.
Like any young writer, I am well aware that an invitation to speak at TED can be a career-changing opportunity. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I was invited to appear at this year’s annual conference. What I could not have imagined from an organization whose tagline is “ideas worth spreading” is that it would attempt to suppress my own.
As an independent podcaster and author, I count myself among the lucky few who can make a living doing what they truly love to do. Nothing about my experience with TED could change that. The reason this story matters is not because I was treated poorly, but because it helps explain how organizations can be captured by an ideological minority that bends even the people at the very top to its will. In that, the story of TED is the story of so many crucial and once-trustworthy institutions in American life.
What follows is pretty damning. By his own description, Hughes' April talk advocated "the idea that we should treat people without regard to race, both in our personal lives and in our public policy." I.e., "color blindness".
And you won't believe what happened next!
Well, actually, if you've been paying attention over the past few years, you probably will. TED subjected Hughes' talk to a "disparate" treatment: like no other talk, Hughes was required to debate his views with antagonists afterward. And TED seems to have done everything it could to un-publicize it.
The discussion continues on Twitter. TED head Chris Anderson defended his organization's behavior. He's very civil and complimentary toward Hughes, but it's a case study in defending the indefensible. See the accompanying comments pointing this out.
Also see the (equally civil) response from Hughes. Essentially, he forgives TED for the weaselly behavior demanded by a vocal and intolerant minority of wokist employees.
Also of note:
Beware the wrath of Khan. Elizabeth Nolan Brown's cover story in the latest issue of Reason is out from behind the paywall, and it's a must read, given current events: Competition, Not Antitrust, Is Humbling the Tech Giants.
In 2017, a 27-year-old Yale Law School student published an article arguing that the online retailer Amazon had grown so large that federal regulators should treat it as inherently suspect. Amazon, the paper said, engaged in a wide variety of harmful anticompetitive practices. The article did not merely demand far greater federal oversight of the company; it called for a complete overhaul of how regulators approach antitrust, urging more frequent, more aggressive legal action founded on a generalized antagonism toward large companies and corporate mergers.
At the time, the view was relatively novel, with few adherents in government or the academy. But today that former student, now 34, leads the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and both the agency specifically and the Biden administration more generally are pursuing a concrete version of her antagonistic agenda.
That student was Lina Khan, and her swift ascendance from young academic with a dream to bureaucrat with real power showcases some rapid political and intellectual shifts that have taken place over the last few years. Not only did Khan take command of a major regulatory agency, but the Biden administration found plum spots for fellow antitrust revisionists such as the Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, who became special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, and the attorney Jonathan Kanter, who was installed in the antitrust division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Beyond the White House, politicians on both the left and the right have embraced versions of these theories—and called for applying them to a swath of increasingly large, increasingly successful technology companies.
ENB's article was probably written a few months back. So it doesn't include yesterday's news from Joe Lancaster: FTC Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon.
In the lawsuit, the FTC, along with the attorneys general of 17 states, call the e-commerce giant a "monopolist" and accuse it of "exploit[ing] its monopolies in ways that enrich Amazon but harm its customers."
FTC Chair Lina Khan said that "today's lawsuit seeks to hold Amazon to account for these monopolistic practices and restore the lost promise of free and fair competition."
One of my attitudinal guiding stars is from Elvis: don't be disgusted, try to be amused. But I am in fact disgusted that New Hampshire is one of those (only) 17 states suing Amazon. Using taxpayer resources. I hope our local journalists do some footwork to discover why New Hampshire is teaming up with (mostly) blue states to hamstring a successful company.
We'll almost certainly be paying attention over the coming days, weeks, months, years… But for now, let's just append some criticism from Lancaster's article:
Ryan Young, senior economist for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in a statement that "Amazon controls roughly ten percent of total retail, and about 38 percent of online retail. For Amazon to look dominant, the FTC had to invent new terms such as the 'online superstore market that serves shoppers' and the 'online marketplace services purchased by sellers.' Even if Amazon monopolizes those specially-defined markets, the FTC will have a difficult time proving consumer harm."
"Under antitrust law, big is not automatically bad," Young says. "Big must behave badly first by harming consumers. The rapid innovation, low prices, and low profit margins across the retail and grocery industries, make it unlikely that Amazon is harming consumers."
More like Family Matters Last, amirite? You would have to have a heart of stone not to chuckle at James Freeman's article on the manifest indifference of most Americans to progressive/woke ideology: If You Think Socialism Is Unpopular Now.... Noting the recent discussion of Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research in mainstream news, he extracts this bit of pathos from a Michelle Goldberg opinion column in the NYT: :
“Once the center was established under the near-total control of a single individual, there were many conscientious, talented, dedicated people who came there because they recognized it as a site of power,” Spencer Piston, a Boston University professor who until recently served as faculty lead in the Center for Antiracist Research’s policy office, told me. (He says he hasn’t been able to get a straight answer about whether he’s been fired.) “Tens of millions of dollars were flowing in, and there was lots of prestige, and they thought this would be a chance to do some good.”
Piston remains proud of some of the center’s work, particularly research projects done in concert with local organizations like Family Matters First, which helps families caught up in the child welfare system. “It’s absolutely true that many of the center’s most high-profile projects have been failures,” he said. But there were also successes, despite what he called “the many pathologies at the center.”
Last week, however, Family Matters First found out that its contract with the center had been terminated ahead of schedule, meaning the group won’t receive $10,000 it was counting on. Tatiana Rodriguez, the founder, told me that the association with the center had meant a great deal to her tiny organization: “This was something that we were excited about as a community,” she said. Now she feels betrayed by Kendi.
Okay, so Kendi's got money problems. Specifically, what-did-you-do-with-all-that-money problems. But there's also…
News you can use. New Jersey senior Senator Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) has money problems too, but unlike Kendi's, they are where-did-you-get-all-that-money problems. The WSJ's personal finance reporters Jeremy Olshan and Anne Tergesen have some guidance on The Right Amount of Cash to Keep at Home for Emergencies. Hint: Not $480,000..
So, just how much cash should people keep at home in case of an emergency?
When the question was put to more than a dozen advisers and disaster-preparation experts, the answers ranged from $200 to more than two weeks’ worth of expenses. Though it is personal-finance gospel to save an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses, advisers say money should be collecting interest, not dust at the back of your sock drawer.
There was some consensus: Few, if any, Americans need to stash anything near the $480,000 in cash investigators found in the home of Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), which he said was for emergencies.
There's some very good advice combined with snark in this article. If you do need to keep more than a couple hundred bucks close by for "emergencies", putting the currency in plastic bags in a fireproof safe would be a better location than stuffing it into random articles of clothing. And maybe …
[Emergency preparedness expert John] Ramey suggests applying a portfolio approach to securing one’s cash. “I wouldn’t want all my cash in one safe,” he said. “Have a safe, sure, but also something hidden in plain sight—a Barbasol can with a fake bottom or a decoy wallet.”
Yes, our Amazon Product du Jour is just for you, for a mere $15.95, the "Barbasol Diversion Safe Stash Can with Food Grade Smell Proof Bag with Hidden Compartment for Keys, Cash and Valuables (11oz Travel Size)".
But now that it's been publicized, everyone will know about it, so…